from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Waters Aegean Sea
Geographical location 36 ° 25 ′  N , 25 ° 26 ′  E Coordinates: 36 ° 25 ′  N , 25 ° 26 ′  E
Santorini (Greece)
Number of islands 5
Main island Thira
Total land area 92.5 km²
Residents 17,430 (2011)
Aerial view of the archipelago
Aerial view of the archipelago

Santorin ( modern Greek Σαντορίνη [ sandɔˈrini ] ( f. Sg. ), Mostly transcribed Santorini ; from Italian Santa Irene ) is a small Greek archipelago in the south of the Cyclades , with the same name as its main island, which in Greek is mostly Thira ( modern Greek Θήρα [ ˈθira ] ( f. sg. ), after transcription from ancient Greek Θήϱα also Thera , which means “ hunt ” or “ hunted booty”) is called. Santorini was inhabited by about 17,430 people in 2011. Since the administrative reform in 2010, it has also been a municipality (Greek dimos ) under the name Thira in the South Aegean region .

Location and geography

The Santorin archipelago is located in the southern Aegean Sea about 120 km north of Crete . The closest islands are Anafi 22 km east and Ios 19 km north; Milos is about 77 km northwest.

The ring-shaped islands of Thira, Thirasia and Aspronisi form the edge of a caldera flooded by the sea , in the center of which are the islands of Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni . The entire archipelago has a diameter of about 16 km. The total area is around 92.5 km². Due to the geological development, the Christiana Islands and the underwater volcano Columbos also belong to the Santorini archipelago.

View of the Profitis Ilias, the highest mountain on the island

From the 150 to 350 m high caldera wall, the slope of Thira and Thirasia is gentle towards the outside. Only in the southeast of Thira does the Profitis Ilias massif , at 567 m the highest point in the archipelago, interrupt this gentle slope. In many places a wide black lava beach forms the transition to the sea. In other places the pumice ceiling extends to the sea and then forms cliffs. On Thira, with the exception of the Profitis Ilias massif, and on Thirasia, deep erosion channels in the soft pumice cover, caused by winter rains, shape the topography.

The maximum extent of the crescent-shaped main island Thira is from Cape Mavropetra ( Ακρωτήριο Μαυρόπετρα Akrotirio Mavropetra ) in the north to Cape Exomytis ( Ακρωτήριο Εξωμύτης Akrotirio Exomytis ) in the south 17.4 km. The width varies between 1.2 km in the north to about 6 km in the south. About 70% of the island's area is covered by partially massive layers of pumice stone. In the north these layers are interrupted by older volcanoes, in the south by older lava domes . 15% each is accounted for by lava and slag as well as the metamorphic basement.

The caldera of Santorini covers an area of ​​about 84.5 km², the extension is about 11 km in north-south direction and almost 8 km in west-east direction. The absolute height in the north of Thira from the seabed is about 700 m. The caldera floor consists of four sub-basins. The north-eastern sub-basin reaches a depth of almost 400 m and was probably formed during the events of the Minoan eruption.

f1Georeferencing Map with all coordinates: OSM | WikiMap

The individual islands
Surname Greek name Area
height location
Thira Θήρα ( f. Sg. ) 79.1940 * 567 36 ° 24 '  N , 25 ° 27'  E
Thirasia Θηρασία ( f. Sg. ) 9.2460 * 295 36 ° 26 ′ 8 "  N , 25 ° 20 ′ 21"  E
Nea Kameni Νέα Καμένη ( f. Sg. ) 3,3380 * 127 36 ° 24 '16 "  N , 25 ° 23' 50"  E
Palea Kameni Παλαιά Καμένι ( f. Sg. ) 0.5250 * 98 36 ° 23 '52 "  N , 25 ° 22' 49"  E
Aspronisi Ασπρόνησι ( n. Sg. ) 0.1420 * 70 36 ° 23 ′ 1 ″  N , 25 ° 20 ′ 53 ″  E
Agios Nikolaos Άγιος Νικόλαος ( m. Sg. ) 0.003 *0 36 ° 27 ′ 27 ″  N , 25 ° 22 ′ 20 ″  E
Kimina Κίμινα ( n. Pl. ) 0.0005 * 36 ° 25 ′ 2 "  N , 25 ° 19 ′ 26"  E

* Area information is estimated


In the Pliocene , about three million years ago, movements at the plate edges caused the collapse and flooding of the Cyclades massif . On the southern edge, the subduction of the African Plate under the Aegean Plate led to the melting of the crustal material and the formation of a volcanic island arc . The Santorin archipelago is located in the central area of ​​this so-called Cycladic arc .

The caldera wall shows the stratification of the volcanic rock

The base of the Santorin archipelago is a non-volcanic basement of Upper Triassic reef limestone and tertiary phyllites , some of which have been converted into marble. Granite penetrated these metamorphic rocks near Athinios in the Upper Miocene . The main part of the Santorini archipelago is made up of several volcanic complexes that partially overlay the basement.

As the remainder of the Cyclades massif, this basement formed a non-volcanic island and extends from the Profitis Ilias massif and the Gavrilos hill in the southeast to the caldera wall at Athinios and Cape Thermia in the west. Volcanic activity began around 1.6 million years ago to 600,000 years ago. An eruption center southwest of the Cyclades massif formed a new island, the existing one was partially covered. Another volcano formed in the north of Thira 500,000 years ago, while further activities in the south united the volcanic and non-volcanic islands. Two massive eruptions 200,000 and 180,000 years ago produced a layer of pumice stone up to 70 m thick and superimposed the previous volcanoes. Due to the emptying of the magma chamber, a volcanotectonic collapse occurred and the first caldera was formed.

A total of twelve explosive eruptions with a VEI value of 5 or higher (a VEI value of 7 is being discussed for the Minoan eruption) produced the majority of volcanic products in the past 200,000 years. Active phases were followed by periods of rest; the soil formation during longer periods of rest could be demonstrated on the basis of charred plant remains. The shape of the archipelago changed several times. Powerful eruptions were followed four times by the formation of a caldera. This repeated alternation of volcanic formation and volcanic tectonic collapses can be detected today in the northern part of the caldera. As a result of three explosive eruptions, the Skaros caldera was formed less than 100,000 years ago, the Cape Riva caldera 21,000 years ago and the present caldera about 3,600 years ago, caused by the Minoan eruption . Subsequently, near the center of the caldera, submarine eruptions with lava outflows began and built the Kameni volcano with the islands of the same name from the caldera bottom at a depth of 500 m in several phases over the past 2200 years .

With three eruptions in the 20th century, the Kameni volcano is the most active volcano (next to Nisyros ) in the eastern Mediterranean.

Historical and current observation of volcanic activities

Volcanic activity on Nea Kameni in the 19th century

Ancient scholars such as Strabo , Plutarch and Pausanias already report volcanic activities in the caldera of Santorini and the formation of the Kameni Islands, and numerous observations have been handed down. The descriptions of the origin of Nea Kameni from 1570 onwards are particularly well known. The French geologist Ferdinand André Fouqué followed the eruptions of Nea Kameni for several months in 1866 and wrote a monograph on it. Hans Reck published a comprehensive work on the eruption period from 1925 to 1928. In contrast, the older islands of Thira and Thirasia received little attention for a long time. The discovery and excavation of Akrotiri raised initial questions; The formation of the older islands has been researched internationally since the 1960s.

In the summer of 1995, the Institute for Study and Observation of the Santorini Volcano (ISMOSA.V.) Started work as part of an EU-funded research program on volcano monitoring.

Since January 9, 2011, a new phase of volcanism began on Santorini with swarm quakes and a bulging of the island. A group of researchers led by Andrew Newman set up a network of ten seismographs and around 20 GPS stations since 2006 . According to the team's calculations, the penetration of a magma mass of around 14 million m³ below Santorini is the cause of the 5 to 9 cm bulge and the seismic activity. Stations on opposite sides of the caldera were also 14 cm apart. It is unclear whether and when a new volcanic eruption will actually take place; however, scientists believe an eruption is likely in the next few years. Observations on similar calderas around the world show, however, that such phases of uplifts and subsidence, and even the penetration of a magma body, do not automatically result in prompt volcanic eruptions. The next outbreak can happen in years or decades.

Minerals and Rare Rocks

Due to its diverse geological structure, Santorini is rich in different rocks, each of which can contain interesting minerals.

In the volcanic rocks of basalt , dacite , pumice and tuff there are gas bubbles that offered cavities for the formation of minerals. Among other things, it contains quartz crystals and zeolites ( natrolite , chabazite ).

Chalcedony , quartz , agate and opal (mostly hyalite ) can be found in volcanic rocks that have been hydrothermally modified and are rich in silicate .

Adjacent rocks can very rarely have got into a magma chamber and have been metamorphosed there, creating skarn . It contains garnet and pyroxene crystals (up to 3 cm).

In the area of ​​the older bedrock, which can be found, for example, at the port of Athinios ( slate , marble and dolomite ), there is mineralization that is linked to old tectonic faults. These can be recognized by distinct black or reddish veins. : There are the following minerals galena / galena (up to 3 cm large phenocrysts) Cerussite , Linarite (very rare), malachite , dolomite crystals, chalcopyrite (mostly as limonitisierte pseudomorphoses).


54,000 year old fossil leaf prints of Olea europaea . Site: Fira / Santorin

In the ash layers of the volcanic eruptions, plant remains have sometimes been preserved, which until recently could be found in the former pumice quarry near Thira. These included palm leaves, terebinth leaves and olive leaves . These finds are around 30,000 to 60,000 years old. Currently, the site, which is actually a natural monument of the highest importance, is being filled with rubbish.

The most recent fossils are in the boundary layer with the Minoan volcanic eruption. For example, Tom Pfeiffer found a charred olive tree there that helped date the Minoan catastrophe.

On the other hand, the fossils at the Profitis Iias summit from the Cretaceous period are much older, although there is mainly a deep-sea fauna from around 120 to 150 million years ago, for example with hippurites.


The place Oia, 1997

Santorini (like the Cyclades in general) has the most hours of sunshine in Greece. During the summer months from June to September there are hardly more than one rainy day per month. The average daytime temperatures in August reach up to 29 ° C, the water temperatures reach the highest level of 25 ° C in August. The main rainy season falls from December to February with an average of nine rainy days per month. The air temperatures drop to an average of 11 ° C during this time.


Santorini is in the area of ​​the winter rainy climate . The summers are characterized by drought. The regular, dry and cool Meltemi in connection with evaporation over the surrounding sea creates a moisture balance in the form of dew formation . With the exception of the steep coast, cultivated land takes up about 80% of the island's area on Santorini. The main part is made up of vineyards with spacious terraces and dry stone walls. Smaller units are used to grow vegetables and fruits for self-sufficiency. Lack of water is the limiting factor. Year-round watercourses do not exist. Unfavorable locations or fallow areas are partially grazed.

Despite its volcanic past, Santorini does not show any depletion of flora and fauna. The species numbers are comparable to other islands in the southern Aegean. The islands in the caldera offer the possibility to document immigration, establishment and extinction processes.


The flora of Santorini has been studied by numerous researchers for almost 200 years and is therefore relatively well known. Theodor von Heldreich laid the first foundations at the end of the 19th century. With 240 species recorded at the time, the flora was classified as impoverished. According to modern opinion, the archipelago is not considered to be floristically saturated, and an increase in the number of species as a result of an ongoing immigration process is assumed. So far, over 550 species of fern and seed plants have been identified on the Santorini Archipelago, 178 species on Palea Kameni and 156 species on Nea Kameni. Around 95% of the plant species from Palea and Nea Kameni also occur on the older ring islands, and immigration from there is suspected.

Woody plants and olive cultures are almost completely absent. The vegetation consists of about 97% of the typical Phrygana in various combinations on almost all older fallow land, the transition to younger fallow land is seamless. Only a few shrub-forming species such as Sarcopoterium spinosum , Coridothymus capitatus , Cistus creticus and Thymelaea hirsuta determine this habitat . Some Phrygana sites are dominated by neophytes such as Opuntia ficus-indica , Agave americana or the conspicuously yellow flowering Aeonium arboreum . The species composition is more diverse on the limestone slopes of the northern Profitis Ilias and Gavrilos . The summit region of Profitis Ilias is rich in geophytes and lichens. At extreme locations of the pumice layer, Helichrysum sp. customized.

The flora of Nea Kameni has been particularly well researched; seven collecting trips since 1911 have produced a total of 156 species of fern and seed plants. Volcanic eruptions in the first half of the 20th century decimated the stocks several times. The actual number of species is 130 species (1987). In accordance with the volcanic activities of the 20th century, different types of plant communities have developed at different locations. The permanent migration of species and development accompanies a process of displacement of pioneer plants. Apart from a few Ficus carica trees , which survived the volcanic activity of the 20th century, dense clumps of Hyparrhenia hirta and the annual Lupinus angustifolius characterize the steppe-like vegetation. The beginning of the development of shrub vegetation has been observed since the mid-1980s. Atriplex halimus has established itself and the first seedlings of Pistacia lentiscus have been detected.

178 species of fern and seed plants are known from Palea Kameni. The evergreen hard-leaf vegetation is dominated by low, wind-formed bushes of Pistacia lentiscus accompanied by some Ballota acetabulosa , Calicotome villosa and Prasium majus , interspersed with therophytes . A salt-loving plant community has established itself in the splash zone , which is dominated by Atriplex halimus and Lycium intricatum shrubs . The southeastern tip is populated by an open, low-growing Limonium graecum community . Isolated fern communities in different compositions, such as Asplenium obovatum and Polypodium cambricum, occupy the habitat mainly between shady rock crevices on the north coast and in the middle. The almost bare rocks in the north-west are increasingly populated from the south, now also by perennial plants such as Atriplex halimus , Helichrysum italicum , Hyparrhenia hirta , Phagnalon graecum and Pistacia lentiscus .


A complete survey of the animal species is not available. Five species of mammals are known of Santorini. In addition to black rats , house mice and wild rabbits , these are also the southern white-breasted hedgehog and an unidentified bat species .

The reptile fauna of Santorini is poorer in species than that of the Cyclades islands of comparable size, it consists of only five species. The small number of species and the lack of amphibians and turtles suggest that the island fauna is oceanic. Podarcis erhardii naxensis a subspecies of the Cycladic wall lizard occurs on the large islands of Thira, Thirasia and the Kaimeni islands. The two gecko species European half finger and Aegean bare finger are known from Thira and the latter also from Thirasia. That exist on Thira European Cat Snake and the Leopard Snake , other species such as the Caspian whipsnake and the four-lined snake is suspected. The endemic Santorini roller skink Chalcides moseri has not been detected since it was first described in 1937.

Between 1905 and 1987 almost 100 species of birds were observed in Santorini, most of them migrants . The nine species of kestrel , chukar grouse , herring gull , rock dove , crested lark , velvet-headed warbler , house sparrow , raven and hooded crow are known as breeding birds , others such as little owl , bee-eater , wagtail , white-bearded warbler , Mediterranean wheatear , blue alder and field sparrow are suspected to be.

In situated above Kamari Zoodohos Cave endemic was Assel Schizidium beroni detected. The species is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the Greece Red List.

natural reserve

Oil barriers over the wreck of the Sea Diamond (2015)

The islands of Nea and Palea Kameni as well as the Profitis Ilias massif were added to the network of the European Union in 2000 as GR4220003 Santorini: Nea and Palea Kameni - Profitis Ilias (Σαντορίνη: Νέα και Παλαιά Καμένη - Προφήτης Ηλλaς) .

environmental issues

Waste disposal is a major problem. Garbage and scrap are dumped in the former pumice quarries. As a result, unique sites of fossil plants and archaeological remains are forever destroyed. The increasing traffic with rental cars and motorcycles pollutes the islands with noise, exhaust gases and junk. Brisk construction activity destroys the landscape and important natural resources. The cruise ship Sea Diamond , which sank off Thíra on April 6, 2007, was declared rubbish by the EU Commission on June 24, 2008, but has not yet been recovered.


The names of the island

Fresco of Potnia theron from Akrotiri

According to legend, the island was created from a lump of earth that was thrown into the sea by Euphemus . The island is said to have initially borne the name Καλλίστη Kalliste ( "the most beautiful" , handed down by Pausanias and Herodotus ) and was inhabited by Phoenicians . According to Pausanias, Theras , son of Autesion , founded a Spartan colony eight generations later and named it after himself: ancient Greek Θήρα Thēra , which can be translated as "the wild one". But other Greek derivations are possible: From θερίζω therizo "summer seed yield, harvest " from θέρος Theros "heat, summer " or θήρ Ther "wild animal", from which the name of the goddess Potnia Theron derives - the "Mistress of wild animals ”. "Die Wilde" could be the origin of the name by Doric settlers in the 11th century BC. To reproduce. Conversely, the first name Therese is associated with an origin from this island: "who comes from Thera" or "resident of Thera".

The name Στρογγύλη Strongyle ( "the round" ), which is passed down by Pliny , was related to the island. However, he probably meant another volcanic island by the name, Stromboli . There are also assumptions that the name qe-ra-si-ja found on tablets in Knossos describes a goddess worshiped in Santorini, who is also worshiped in Crete as Qe-ra-si-ja ( Therasia , "the goddess of Thera" ) has been. Thus the name Thera would be of older, perhaps pre-Greek origin.

Excavation of the Basilica of St. Irene on the edge of today's Perissa

The Venetians named the island Santa Irini in the 12th century after an early Christian basilica consecrated to Saint Irene (Italian Santa Irene , Middle Greek Άγια Ειρήνη Aja Irini ) near today's Perissa, which probably corresponded to the historical settlement Eleusis described by Claudius Ptolemy . This later became Santorini, which in German, analogous to Athens and Turin, was rendered as Santorin without a final vowel.

After the founding of modern Greece, the island got its ancient name again like many other places; the name Santorin, which is better known outside of Greece, is still used.

Minoan time

In 1867, ruins from the Minoan period (the term "Minoan" was not in use at that time, but was first coined by Arthur Milchhoefer ) were found on Santorini by the French geologist Ferdinand André Fouqué . The remains of the wall were then interpreted as farmhouses that belonged to a modest Minoan outpost.

Minoan cityscape, part of a fresco from Akrotiri, late Bronze Age

Exactly one hundred years later the Greek archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos dug near Akrotiri and found an almost perfectly preserved Bronze Age city with the remains of buildings, streets and squares under layers of ash meters thick. The first traces of settlement date from the 5th millennium BC. BC, the Neolithic . In the early 2nd millennium BC Thera became one of the most important ports in the Aegean . Objects from Cyprus , Syria and Egypt suggest a wide trade network. The bath rooms connected to a sewer system, the diverse handicrafts and, last but not least, the fascinating 3500 year old frescoes testify to the high degree of civilization . Around or shortly before 1500 BC BC - or, if the date discussed below is confirmed, between 1620 and 1600 BC. BC - the epoch of the flourishing Minoan port on Thera seems to have ended.

The date and consequences of the last major eruption are still the subject of scientific debate. The theory first formulated by Auguste Nicaise was popular that the eruption of Santorini had the Minoan culture around 1500 BC. Chr. Extinguished. But the theory of the connection between the decline of the Minoan culture and a volcanic eruption on Thera began to falter when Minoan ceramics were typologized and dated more precisely. On Crete there are still ceramic steps that were not found on Thera. Consequently, the eruption occurred with the burial of the Minoan settlement of Akrotiri at least half a century before the collapse of the Minoan civilization.

Branch of an olive tree from the pumice layer of the Minoan eruption

Scientific methods such as the investigation of the ice layers on Greenland , C14 data from seeds from the layers of destruction (VDL) on Santorini itself and dendrochronological studies as well as C14 dating of annual rings of two olive tree branches that were buried under a 60 meter high pumice layer during the volcanic eruption yielded data which are almost 100 years earlier, i.e. around 1613 BC. Chr. ± 13 years. After that there was a peaceful cultural connection between the Minoans and the beginning New Kingdom in Egypt , while according to the physical dating of the Santorin eruption , the layers buried by ashes must correlate with the Hyksos period , which has not yet been proven archaeologically. A direct connection between the eruption and the collapse of the Minoan culture (around 1450 BC) does not exist, even according to archaeological findings.

Cliffs in the west of Santorini

Nevertheless, some researchers believe that such a disaster did not leave the Minoans without a trace. The reason for the disappearance of the Minoan culture could be indirect consequences of the volcanic eruption of 1613 BC. It was speculated that the volcano triggered a tsunami whose waves, up to 12 m high, could have destroyed Crete's ports in the north as well as part of the shipping fleet (merchant ships and fishing boats) . In the meantime, traces of the tidal waves have been identified in some places on the northeast coast of Crete. So in Pseira , Palaikastro and Papadiokambos .

According to more recent findings, the eruption was much larger than previously assumed. If it was previously assumed that it had a strength of 6 on the volcanic explosion index , which ranges from 0 to 8, a strength VEI 7 is now even being discussed. Statistically, an outbreak of this strength is only to be expected once per millennium.

The thesis that the eruption of the volcano was the origin of Plato's story about the sinking of Atlantis is one of the diverse localization hypotheses about Atlantis . It is represented by various authors, but assumes that several of Plato's detailed statements must be ignored, since they do not apply to Santorini.

After the Minoan eruption

View from Thira to the crater flooded by the sea

Some time after the eruption, Thera was colonized again by Minoans, but they then disappeared at about the same time as the Minoans on Crete (around 1450 BC). In the following centuries the island was colonized by Phoenicians.

In the 9th century BC The isle was taken over by the Lacedaemonians (Dorians) as a base on the east-west trade route in the Aegean and expanded. The geographical location and the specific geomorphology made the island an ideal naval base. The settlers from Sparta built the city of Ancient Thera on a ridge of Mount Messavouno.

Until the end of the Persian Wars in 478 BC Thera remained an independent state of ancient Greece. According to Herodotus, there were seven cities on the island, which after a seven-year drought sent colonists to North Africa, among others. There they founded the once powerful Cyrene , which stood on the side of the Spartans in the Peloponnesian War . After the end of the Persian Wars , Athens also ruled Thera. Santorini was not spared from the eventful years that followed. After the division of the empire of Alexander the Great, Thera came under the influence of the Ptolemies . The island became a naval base, the captains and officers built luxurious houses in the main settlement of Alt-Thera.

Like all of Greece , Thera fell in 146 BC. For several centuries under Roman rule. The island had considerable influence in the Roman province of Asia , there were extensive public buildings in Ancient Thera and officials from Santorini held high positions, including twice the office of provincial high priest. In the Byzantine period from the 3rd century onwards, the Panagia Episkopi church near Mesa Gonia became the bishopric, originally a three-aisled basilica. In 1100 a cross-domed church was built, which is outstanding due to its architecture and furnishings to this day.

Venetian time

Goulas in Emborio

The conquest of Constantinople as a result of the Fourth Crusade led to the division of the Byzantine Empire . The Republic of Venice made claims to the southern Aegean. In 1207 Marco Sanudo founded the Duchy of Naxos and gave the islands of Thira and Thirasia to the Venetian Giacomo I. Barozzi as a fief. After the reconquest of Constantinople , the islands came under the Byzantine sphere of influence again from 1265 to 1296. Then Giacomo II Barozzi became lord of Santorini. The Venetians established a feudal system and built fortified settlements in Ia, Pyrgos, Emborio and Akrotiri. The also fortified Skaros rock north of today's Fira became the capital and seat of a Roman Catholic diocese in the Duchy of Archipelagos. The feudal lords themselves lived in the tower-like goulades , which served as tower castles and as a warehouse for agricultural products.

Under the Sanudo and Pisani families, the duchy flourished until the Crispo family carried out a coup in 1383. The following period was marked by decline, pirate attacks and armed conflicts with the Republic of Genoa and the expanding Ottoman Empire . For the year 1470 a population of only 300 people is given on the island.

After the conquest of the Aegean Islands by Khair ad-Din Barbarossa in 1537, the islands remained under the rule of the Crispo family until 1566, but became tribute to Sultan Selim II . After that, Joseph Nasi was first installed by the Sultan as Duke of Naxos, after his death in 1579 the Ottomans took over control of Santorini.

Ottoman time

The island was finally taken over by the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Murad III in 1580 . led to an improvement in the social and economic situation. The communities were granted extensive self-government and interference in the affairs of the island was reduced. The abolition of the feudal system enabled the local population to acquire agricultural land. Viticulture was of particular importance, but barley and tomatoes were also grown. The control of viticulture by the locals combined with a significant decrease in piracy resulted in an expansion of trade. Due to the poor condition and the difficult accessibility of the Venetian Skaros, the capital was moved to Thira.

Santorini late 18th century, Guillaume-Antoine Olivier

Due to the economic boom, Santorini had a steady population increase from 7000 people in the middle of the 17th century to 10,000 people at the end of the century and 12,000 people at the end of the 18th century. Wine was the primary export product, and therefore vineyards and trading activities were constantly expanding. Until the first half of the 18th century, the Greek shipowners mostly sailed under the French flag.

The treaty provisions of the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca enabled Greek shipowners under the Russian flag to trade freely in the Black Sea region . Participation in the grain trade from southern Russia to the western Mediterranean under Russian protection gave the Greek merchant fleet a strong boost. At the beginning of the 19th century, Santorini was the third largest merchant fleet in Greece.

19th century, after the Greek Revolution

Initially, little changed in the economic situation in the newly founded Greek state, which emerged as a result of the Greek Revolution . The renewed expansion of the vineyards between 1835 and 1874 more than doubled the harvest. At the end of the 19th century, the change in the taste of wine in Europe led to falling demand and the rapid fall in the price of Vinsanto. Merchant shipping, which was dependent on wine exports, declined and also suffered a slump with the advent of steamers. Santorini was subject to a major structural change and a strong migration, a change to greater diversity was undertaken in agriculture.

20th century

Even today, donkeys kick the fava on the old threshing floors
Today tomatoes are only dried for personal use

In addition to fava and white eggplant , the cultivation of tomatoes spread from the 1880s. Initially, the small family businesses started producing tomato paste, the first factory started work in 1929, and at the height of tomato production in the late 1940s, there were twelve processing plants on Santorini. In addition, cotton was grown, which was processed in local textile factories. Viticulture was and is important . Although the area under vines was constantly being reduced, the agricultural area occupied more than 70% of the island's area by the middle of the 20th century.

The earthquake in Amorgos on 9 July 1956, the strength of 7.4 followed by 18 more aftershocks with a magnitude over 4.1. The strongest aftershock reached magnitude 7.2, the epicenter was just off the northeast coast of Thira. Ia and Fira were hardest hit. The village of Mesa Gonia was initially completely abandoned and the inhabitants founded Kamari by the sea . It was not until about a decade later that some houses in Mesa Gonia were renovated again, and today Mesa Gonia and Exa Gonia are two small villages in a central location.

Population development of the island of Thira
year 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
Thira 7,751 6,196 7,083 8,771 12,440 14.005
Yes 0.882 01,230 01,545
total 9,653 13,670 15,500

After the sinking of the Greek cruise ship Sea Diamond on April 6, 2007 near the port of Athinos, a citizens' group campaigned for the salvage of the wreck. Oil leaked repeatedly and an increased heavy metal load was detected. On June 24, 2008, the EU Commission declared the wreck to be garbage. In June 2009 the oil was pumped out of the wreck, but the wreck has not yet been recovered.

Administrative division and localities

View of the town of Fira

The archipelago has been divided into two municipalities since the Greek municipal reform in 1997. The north of the island of Thira and Thirasia, together with the rocky islands of Agios Nikolaos and Kimina, formed the independent rural community Ia (Κοινότητα Οίας) with the main town of the same name (also transcribed as Oia), most of the island of Thira with all the other islands formed the municipality of Thira (Δήμος) Θήρας), with the capital Fira. As a result of the administrative reform in 2010 , both municipalities were united to form the new municipality of Thira , which now encompasses the entire island group of Santorini. The former parishes became parish districts.

The municipality of Thira also includes the uninhabited Christiana Islands (Χριστιανά) Christiani (Χριστιανή), Askania (Ασκανιά) and Eschati (Εσχάτη), which form the southernmost point of the Cyclades prefecture , and are located about 18 km southwest of the main island (Άνυδρος) or Amorgopoula (Αμοργοπούλα), which is just 25 km northeast of Thira.

Parish Greek name code Area (km²) 2001 residents Residents 2011 City districts / local communities
(Δημοτική / Τοπική Κοινότητα)
Thira Δημοτική Ενότητα Θήρας 600101 71.174 12,440 14.005 Thira, Akrotiri, Vothonas, Vourvoulos, Emborios, Exo Gonias, Episkopi Gonias, Imerovigli, Karterados, Megalochori, Mesaria, Kallisti
Yes Δημοτική Ενότητα Οίας 600102 19,449 1,230 1,545 Yes , Thirasia
total 6001 90.623 13,670 15,500


All Cyclades islands have in common that they were under foreign rule for a long time, but because of their small size and geographical isolation, they attracted little attention from the respective rule. Hence a culture of self-sufficiency and self-centeredness developed. The societies are family-oriented and conservative. This is particularly true of Santorini, the southernmost of the Cyclades islands.

The traditional basis of the island was agriculture, industry has never established itself apart from the production of canned tomatoes . In the 19th century, the quarrying of the volcanic rock was added. Children who neither took over the farm nor worked in the quarries had to emigrate or went to sea. They always returned to the big family celebrations whenever possible. The Orthodox Easter is to be mentioned first of all, but baptisms also bring the family and often the whole village community together.

Since the surface of the island has not been suitable for raising livestock, either in the past or the present, agriculture has been focused on crops . In addition to small grain fields for personal use, tomatoes and beans were mainly grown. Pistachios and olives around the houses were often the only trees in large parts of the island. This tradition of agriculture is still evident today in the island's specialties: unlike in other parts of Greece, vegetarian dishes make up a large proportion of the diet. These include above all the psevdokeftedes , balls made from tomatoes or chickpeas, which replace the meatballs that are otherwise so popular in Greek cuisine . In addition, the traditional version Melitzanosalata thick one of white eggplant is of particular importance and various preparations, as Fava referred purees from grass pea .

Viticulture has played a major role in Santorini for thousands of years. In order to protect the vines on the volcanic pumice stone floor from drying out, they are not pulled up, but rather braided on the floor in small hollows to form round wreaths. Vineyards on the higher slopes of the island, especially on Profitis Ilias mountain , benefit from a special weather phenomenon. Because the sea is colder there than on the outside of the island due to the greater depth in the caldera, light clouds of fog pull up the slopes in the midday heat and can be deposited as dew under favorable conditions.

Café in Akrotiri

The buildings on the island largely correspond to the Cycladic architecture on the neighboring islands. The house shapes were created in the typical agglutinating construction method, in which cubic cells are joined together as required, which mostly represent a room. This creates irregular streets, squares, corners and angles, and they are connected by stairs, terraces or courtyards. This construction has obvious advantages in the island climate; the winding streets protect against storms and sunlight. Also, the settlements were so easy to defend.

A special feature of the island of Santorini is that there were no trees here. That is why the roof structures found on other islands are being replaced by barrel vaults . They are made from the island's light pumice stone, connected by Santorin soil . In addition, the arrangement of the buildings in the settlements is adapted to the specific terrain structures of Santorini: At the edge of the caldera, the houses extend along the contour lines, with many stairs. In the erosion valleys they pull themselves up the slopes on both sides. The hilltop settlements in the center of the island are based around the fortifications of the Venetians. The new settlements on the coast line up along a long, wide quay road. Side streets lead from it in a grid or fan shape. The so-called manor houses differ from this predominant island architecture. They go back to buildings by the Venetians, but were largely built in the 19th century under the influence of classicism . Individual mansions were built in the centers of almost all island villages. They are concentrated in the Catholic quarter of the island's capital.

Some of the emigrants or seafarers have made fortunes and have given some of them back to the community on the island. In Mesa Gonia, near the center of the island, there is a modern church in neo-Byzantine style , which is dedicated to Ágios Charálambos . It was donated after the earthquake in 1956 by an entrepreneur who emigrated from Santorini to the USA. The island shipowner Pétros Nomikós is considered to be the greatest patron of Santorini: He financed the construction of the cable car from Fira's old port up to the city and laid the foundation stone for the congress and cultural center named after him on the edge of the caldera .


  • Excavations of Ancient Thera
  • Akrotiri excavations
  • Steep coast path from Fira to Ia
  • The new archaeological museum, the Gyzi museum and the old archaeological museum at the Fira cable car, the Santozeum is an exhibition and cultural center in Fira that has been showing the exhibition of detailed replicas of the frescoes from Akrotiri since 2011.
  • Mineral and Fossil Museum in Perisa
  • Islands in the crater ( Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni )
  • The former Episcopal Church of Panagia Episkopi near Mesa Gonia
  • Church Ieros Naos Agiou Ioannou tou Baptistou (1823)
Steep coast with the village of Ia and the port of Ammoudi
Steep coast with the village of Firá and the old port

Regular events

Megaro Gyzi Festival

The Megaro Gyzi Festival has been held every August at the Megaro Gyzi Cultural Center since 1981 . The program offers concerts, theater performances and painting exhibitions.

International piano competition The Muse

The International Association of Art, The Muse has organized the International Piano Competition since 2005 . The competition will be held at the beginning of September in the Megaro Gyzi concert hall . For participants up to 17 years of age, The Muse Junior took place for the first time in 2009 in the categories piano, violin, cello and wind instruments.

International Music Festival of Santorini

In the Petros M. Nomikos Conference Center in Fira, the International Music Festival of Santorini (Διεθνές Μουσικό Φεστιβάλ Σαντορίνης) has been held by the Friends of Santorini Cultural Association (Πολιτιστικό Σλλνηνηνο Οιτς Σωμανηνο Οιτς Σωμανηνο Οιτς) since September 1989 .

Santorini Jazz Festival, Kamari

The outdoor cinema in Kamari has hosted the Santorini Jazz Festival since 1997 .



Today the island lives almost exclusively from tourism . The places Perissa and Kamari in the southeast on the outside of the island rely on the flat beaches and attract bathers. There are medium-sized hotel complexes here. In Fira, the neighboring towns of Firostephani and Imerovigli, as well as Ia on the rim of the crater, small hotels and guest houses in the higher-priced segment predominate. Both places have extensive shopping opportunities in the summer months aimed at tourists, including branches of international fashion, watch and jewelry suppliers. Visitors from China are a particularly fast growing segment of tourism on Santorini. Since around 2010, their number has been growing in the three-digit percentage range every year, even more in 2015 after the film Beijing Love Story, which was partly shot in Santorini, was the most successful film of the year in China in 2014 .

Mules bring tourists up to the island via stone stairs

In agriculture today only viticulture in the Santorini growing area plays a significant role. White and sweet wines are produced in the highest Greek quality level OPAP ( Onomasia proelefseos anoteras piotitos Ονομασία προελευσέως ανωτέρας ποιότητος). Until the 1980s, tomatoes were grown commercially and marketed as ketchup or canned foods . Today there is only one small company left. A closed canning factory near Vlichada houses the power plant of the state energy supplier ΔΕΗ . The fishing is mainly used by the island's restaurants. Fishing boats are mainly in the small harbors near Monolithos and Ammoudi near Ia. Pistachios and figs are grown on a small scale. The traditional fava is hardly grown any more. Further agriculture is only for personal use. There are still public threshing places in several villages .

The mining of Santorini soil and other forms of pumice has been the island's main industry since the 19th century. The last quarry closed in 1990, the remains of the slides and loading cranes can still be seen south of Fira.



The Santorini airport has regular services to Athens and other Greek destinations. In summer there are international charter connections to Santorini from Germany, Austria and other European countries.

There are daily ferry connections to Piraeus , the port of Athens, across other islands in the Cyclades with Blue Star Ferries or with the high-speed ferries of Hellenic Seaways (subsidiary of Minoan Lines ). There are also daily connections to neighboring islands, with fast ferries going to Crete almost every day. Ferry traffic has been handled via the port in Athiniós since the mid-1990s.

Cruise ships in the bay in front of Fira

Cruise ships either dock in the new port or take the guests to the old port of Fira, where the majority of the excursion boats leave. From the port a cable car and a staircase lead the approximately 300 meters in altitude to the town of Fira on the crater rim. Donkey rides are offered for climbing the stairs .

The road network is well developed. The main connection route leads along the rim of the crater from Ia to Akrotiri with a connection to the interior of the island to Messariá and access roads to Kamari and the airport at Monolithos, as well as a junction to Emborio and on to Perissa. The bus company KTEL Thira (ΚΤΕΛ Θήρας), founded in 1988, operates a dense network of routes. The central bus station is in Fira. Lines in all directions also cross in Messariá.

Excursion boats run several times a day from the old port in Fira to Ia, Thirasia and the volcanic islands inside the caldera. More boats into the caldera leave below Ia. On the outside of the island, a boat line connects the seaside resorts of Kamari, Perissa and Akrotiri and their beaches.

Water supply

As on other islands in the South Aegean, the amount of fresh water on Santorini is limited; Groundwater is the most abundant source.

Seawater has penetrated the aquifer as a result of the persistent precipitation deficit over the past 40 years in connection with increased extraction since the tourism boom of the 1970s and 1980s . The water is of poor quality and does not meet the Greek drinking water standard.

Before the earthquake in 1956, precipitation was primarily used to supply water. After the earthquake, the island's first water supply network was laid in Kamari and later extended to most places in the municipality of Thira. The other places are supplied by tank trucks. Drinking water is delivered in the form of one-way bottles . Ia is supplied by a seawater desalination plant due to the lack of groundwater resources.

The deficit on Thirasia is compensated for by cost-intensive water transports in process water quality from the mainland. The operation of a plant for seawater desalination is planned; a framework agreement between the Ministry of Shipping and Local Authorities was signed in 2009.



  • Walter L. Friedrich: Fire in the sea . The Santorini volcano, its natural history and the legend of Atlantis. 2nd Edition. Elsevier, Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-8274-1582-9 , pp. 264 .
  • H. Pichler, D. Günther, S. Kussmaul: Island formation and magma genesis in the Santorin archipelago . In: Natural Sciences . tape 59 , no. 5 . Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg May 1972, p. 188-197 .
  • Timothy H. Druitt, V. Francaviglia: Caldera formation on Santorini and the physiography of the islands in the late Bronze Age . In: Bulletin of Volcanology . No. 54 . Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 1992, p. 484-493 .
  • Floyd W. McCoy, Grant Heiken: The Late-Bronze Age explosive eruption of Thera (Santorini), Greece - Regional and local effects . In: Volcanic Hazards and Disasters in Human Antiquity, Special Paper 345 of the Geological Society of America . Boulder 2000, ISBN 0-8137-2345-0 , pp. 43-70 .
  • Michael Fytikas, Georges E. Vougioukalakis: The South Aegean Active Volcanic Arc, Present Knowledge and Future Perspectives . Milos Conference Center, Milos island, Greece 2005, ISBN 978-0-444-52046-3 .

History and archeology

  • Christian Michlits: The story of Theras in Hellenistic and Roman times . Diploma thesis, University of Vienna, 2008, full text (PDF; 10.5 MB)
  • Christian Michlits: The archaeological evidence of Thera from the Hellenistic and Roman times . Diploma thesis, University of Vienna, 2012 (also online in full text: Archäologie Theras ; PDF; 29.0 MB)


  • Helmut Schmalfuss: Santorin - Living on rubble and ashes . A natural history guide. Verlag Margraf, Weikersheim 1991, ISBN 3-8236-1124-0 .
  • Thomas Raus: Vascular plant colonization and vegetation development on sea-born volcanic islands in the Aegean (Greece) . In: Vegetatio . tape 77 , no. 1-3 . Kluwer Academic Publishers, November 1988, pp. 139-147 , doi : 10.1007 / BF00045759 .
  • Burkhard Biel: Contributions to the flora of the Aegean islands of Santorini and Anafi (Kiklades, Greece) . In: Willdenowia . tape 35 , no. 1 , 2005, p. 87-96 , doi : 10.3372 / wi.35.35106 .


  • Map 10.24, Σαντορίνη Santorini, 1: 40,000 . Anavasi, Athens, ISBN 960-8195-34-9 .
  • Map 108, Σαντορίνη Santorini, 1: 35,000 . Road Editions, Athens, ISBN 960-8481-04-X .
  • Map GEO-01a, Σαντορίνη Santorini volcano, 1: 6,000 . Spiros I. Staridas, Athens 2013, ISBN 978-6-18803872-1 .
  • Map 103, Σαντορίνη Santorini, 1: 35,000 . GeckoMaps, Hinteregg, Switzerland, ISBN 978-3-906593-26-5 .

Web links

Commons : Santorini  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Santorini  - Travel Guide

Scientific Article

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Charles Arnold (ed.): The islands of the Mediterranean . A unique and complete overview. 2nd Edition. marebuchverlag, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 3-86648-096-2 .
  2. ^ Institute for the Study and Monitoring of the Santorini Volcano (ISMOSA.V.). From: , accessed September 10, 2019
  3. Magma under Santorini. In: . Retrieved September 10, 2019 .
  4. Rumble under Santorini . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , September 10, 2012, p. 16
  5. ^ Andrew V. Newman et al .: Recent geodetic unrest at Santorini Caldera, Greece. In: Geophysical Research Letters. Volume 39, L06309, 2012, doi: 10.1029 / 2012GL051286 , full text (PDF; 819 kB; English)
  6. Theodor von Heldreich 1899: The flora of the island Thera. In: Friedrich Hiller von Gaertringen: Thera: Investigations, measurements and excavations in the years 1895–1898. Pp. 127–140., Georg Riemer Verlag, Berlin.
  7. Schmalfuss: Santorin - Living on rubble and ashes p. 92
  8. Frör, Beutler The herpetofauna of the oceanic islands in the archipelago Santorini- p 306
  9. Schmalfuss: Santorin - Life on rubble and ashes . P. 89
  10. ^ Franz Tiedemann, Michael Häupl: Cyrtodactylus kotschyi (STEINDACHNER 1870) in the Santorin archipelago . In: Amphibia-Reptilia . Vol. 3, No. 4 . Brill, 1982, pp. 377-381 .
  11. Emil Frör, Axel Beutler: The herpetofauna of the oceanic islands in the archipelago Santorini, Greece (Reptilia) . In: Spixiana . No. 1 . Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1978, p. 301-308 .
  12. Schmalfuss: Santorin - Life on rubble and ashes, pp. 89–92
  13. ^ Helmut Schmalfuss: The terrestrial isopods (Isopoda: Oniscidea) of Greece . 21st contribution: Genus Schizidium (Armadillidiidae). In: State Museum for Natural History, Stuttgart (Hrsg.): Stuttgart contributions to natural history . No. 681 , 2005, ISSN  0341-0145 , p. 1–38 ( [PDF]).
  14. Α. Λεγάκις, Π. Μαραγκού: Το Κόκκινο Βιβλίο των Απειλούμενων Ζώων της Ελλάδας (Greece's Red List of Endangered Animals) . Ed .: Ελληνική Ζωολογική Εταιρεία - Greek Zoological Society, Υπουργείο Περιβάλλοντος, Ενέργειας και Κλιγ.ΕΕτικής ΑΚλ.αΠς ΑΚΑλΑγής - Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change. Athens 2009, ISBN 978-960-85298-8-5 , Ασπόνδυλα (invertebrates), p. 459 .
  15. Filotis. Database of the Natural Environment of Greece, NTUA .
  16. ^ Other Supporting Recommendations. (PDF) Plan for the Future of Santorini. University of Cincinnati, 2005, p. 2 , accessed April 17, 2011 .
  17. Η Santa Irene της Σαντορίνης , April 14, 2001
  18. Walter L. Friedrich et al .: Santorini Eruption Radiocarbon Dated to 1627–1600 B. C. (PDF; 131.66 kB) In: Science , April 28, 2006 (English)
  19. Gottfried Derka: Hundred Years Lost . In: EPOC . No. 6 , 2008, ISSN  1865-5718 , p. 82 ff .
  20. ^ Walter L. Friedrich: Santorini - Volcano, Natural History, Mythology. Aarhus University Press, 2009, ISBN 978-87-7934-505-8 , p. 95.
  21. Dimitri Philippides: Greek Traditional Architecture. Vol 2 - Cyclades (Original title: Hellēnikē paradosiakē architektonikē / 2: Kyklades, translated by Alexandra Doumas, David Hardy, Philip Ramp). Melissa publishing 1983, p. 147
  22. ^ Documentary and Geological Records of Tsunamis in the Aegean Sea Region of Greece and their Potential Value to Risk Assessment and Disaster Management
  23. Greek Statistical Office ELSTAT, Digital Library (Greek)
  24. Results of the 2011 census, Greek Statistical Office (ΕΛ.ΣΤΑΤ) ( Memento from June 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (Excel document, 2.6 MB)
  25. Wrecked cruiser off Santorini: tourist idyll with a time bomb . On: of July 8, 2008.
  26. Sea Diamond: Ολοκληρώθηκε η απάντληση καυσίμων ( Memento from March 6, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) daily newspaper H Ναυτεμπορική , June 16, 2009.
  27. Parliamentary question to the European Parliament, January 26, 2010
  28. ^ Nicoletta Adams: Santorin. DuMont 2002, ISBN 3-7701-5930-6 , p. 42.
  29. ^ Nicoletta Adams: Santorin. DuMont 2002, ISBN 3-7701-5930-6 , p. 46.
  30. ^ Nicoletta Adams: Santorin. DuMont 2002, ISBN 3-7701-5930-6 , p. 57.
  31. ^ Nicoletta Adams: Santorin. DuMont 2002, ISBN 3-7701-5930-6 , p. 59.
  32. ^ Nicoletta Adams: Santorin. DuMont 2002, ISBN 3-7701-5930-6 , pp. 50-52.
  33. ^ Nicoletta Adams: Santorin. DuMont 2002, ISBN 3-7701-5930-6 , p. 131.
  34. Megaro Gyzi Festival ( Memento from October 9, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  35. International Piano Competition, The Muse ( Memento from March 30, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  36. International Music Festival of Santorini ( Memento from September 25, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  37. ^ Up Living Project: The Famous Santorini Festivals
  38. Greek Travel Pages: Greece Eyes Big Growth in Chinese Tourists This Year March 10, 2015.
  39. KTEL Thira (ΚΤΕΛ Θήρας)
  40. ^ Zachary W. Duvall: A Sustainable Water Supply for Santorini: Creating a Model for Islands of the Aegean Sea . University of Cincinnati, Design, Architecture, Art and Planning: Community Planning, 2006, pp. 71 .
  41. Μονάδες αφαλάτωσης σε νησιά του Αιγαίου ( Memento from March 5, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), ΣΚΑΪ νέα, June 11, 2009 (Greek).